Truth is Liberating
What can positivity and truth do for the women in Dallas’ erotic massage parlors? The answer to that, of course, will depend on the woman since everyone’s story is different. I suspect, though, that it will be similar to what those things have done for me.
Inferior. Ugly. Boring. Dumb. Nothing of value to say. Those are lies I believed about myself for decades.
For over 40 years, I looked in the mirror and felt this disgusting residue covering my entire body. No matter how often I tried to tell myself that I was beautiful, smart, and interesting, my reflection told me otherwise. I felt smaller than other people. I believed I couldn’t reason as well as others could. I thought I had nothing important to say. My mind, my ideas, my thoughts – none of them were worth anything. I battled feeling absolutely worthless for the vast majority of my life. I felt inherently inferior to literally every person on the planet.
Domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape would eventually assail me and my spirit. I would be under the control of a depraved man for two years and would know agony, humiliation, hopelessness, and despair. I would know what it feels like to be used without mercy. To say that these days were the darkest of my life is an understatement. While I was never in prostitution, I do believe I understand some of what the women in the parlors experience.
Where was God in all of this? I’m not sure. Why did all of this happen? I don’t know. All I know for certain is that for two years, I was in the hole of the Earth. I suffered through pure depravity, and I can tell you this: it’s not a pretty place, and it’s nowhere I plan to return to. I don’t know where God was – perhaps right there with me. I do know, however, that He eventually led me to the truth about myself.
When that truth finally entered my life, I fell on it like a woman who had been dying for a drink of water for 46 years.
Every negative idea I had ever believed about myself was a lie. As those lies were exposed and denounced in counseling, the shackles I had lived under for too long fell from my mind.
I can tell you this: the world does look differently when you finally see – and believe in – your own worth.
Now that I have recovered as much as I have from domestic violence, the parlors look different to me. I don’t understand everything about the women inside of them, of course. I was never in prostitution. I would never presume to speak for them or say that I know everything they have experienced. It would be wrong of me to do so.
Even so, as I look at the parlors now, I know that I understand more about these women than I thought I did.
Because of what I suffered through – and survived – I want to go up to each woman and say these words: “I understand. If you feel hopeless about your life, I understand. If you feel ignored, I understand. If you feel unloved, I understand. If you are afraid of your future, I understand. If you feel empty, I understand. If you despair that your life will ever be any different, I understand.”
And then I will look her in the eyes and say this:
“I know the truth about you. I know that you are loved more than you realize. I know that you have wonderful ideas that the world needs to hear. I know that there is a different way to live, and it all centers on the ideas that are going through your mind. Just because you have a negative idea about yourself in your mind does not mean that you must believe it. I serve a God who knows exactly who you are. In His eyes and in mine, you are awesome, intelligent, funny, and talented. All you have to do is believe it is true, and your whole life will look different. I am living proof of what happens when your mindset changes.”
And then, perhaps, my own past will look different. God uses your experiences to help other people. Perhaps when I am able to stand in front of a woman in the parlors and tell her these truths, my own past will be put to rest.